Getting to Bwindi by road
Getting to Bwindi by road: Bwindi is one of the most visited national parks in Uganda famous for harboring mountain gorillas. The park is located in the southwestern part of the country and one of the ways to access it is by using road transport. Road transport can be used by those that enjoy long-distance travelers and exploring the country and budget travelers that can’t afford air transport to the park.
Bwindi gorilla park is located about 540km from Kampala Uganda and getting to the park takes 9-10 hours. Bwindi is also located about 180km from the famous Bwindi gorilla park and getting to Buhoma region from this park takes 3-4 hours. Road transport to Bwindi impenetrable forest national park gives travelers stunning views of hills, lakes, plantations, homesteads, people on the roadside, and includes different stopovers at places such as the Equator at Kayabwe, Lake Mburo national park Igongo cultural centre, and Mpambire a home to the royal drums.
There are so many routes travelers can use to bwindi gorilla park and these include Kampala/Entebbe through Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, Kanungu to Buhoma, Kampala/Entebbe via Masaka, Mbrarara, Ntungamo to Kihihi, Kampala/Entebbe through Masaka, Mbarara, Ntungamo, Kabale, Rukungiri to Ruhija and lastly those in Queen Elizabeth national park can go from Mweya pass through Ishasha and connect to Buhoma sector.
Travelers using Kigali international airport or those from Kigali city can also get to Bwindi gorilla park using road transport. The journey is a bit shorter compared to that from Kampala/Entebbe taking 4-5 hours. From Kigali to Bwindi gorilla park, you drive to the Uganda-Rwanda borders at Cyanika in Kisoro or Katuna in Kabale where you cross to the country and connect to the different sectors of the park. Public means is another way travelers can connect to Bwindi gorilla park although it’s not recommended. There are buses in Kampala which go to Kisoro and Kabale, you will have to board them and when you get there you will hire cars to any of the sectors of Bwindi.
What to do when you reach Bwindi gorilla park
Encounter mountain gorillas
Travelers can go gorilla trekking or gorilla habituation in Bwindi gorilla park home to mountain gorillas. Gorilla trekking is done in Ruhija, Rushaga, Nkuringo, and Buhoma regions while gorilla habituation is done in Rushaga and Nkuringo regions that are found in the south of the park. Both gorilla trekking and gorilla habituati0on can be done by those that have valid gorilla trekking permits.
The activities start with a briefing at the sector offices where trekkers gather and listen to the rules and regulations of the trekking activity from the park wardens. Pak wardens allocate the mountain gorilla families, group people not exceeding 8 or 4, and get armed ranger guides to lead the treks. The trekking activity takes 2-7 hours which depends on the location of the gorilla family, and the speed of the trekkers.
During the search for the assigned mountain gorilla family, trekkers do get opportunities to see different park animals such as buffaloes, elephants, bush pigs, monkeys, olive baboons, duikers, giant forest hogs, and birds among others. When the mountain gorillas are allocated, the ranger guides give 1 hour or 4 hours to be around the mountain gorilla family and in that time they are able to learn about their habits, take photos, record videos and watch them do daily activities like hunting, nesting, coupling and grooming among others.
This is another activity one can do when they travel to Bwindi by road transport. The activity is done using different birding trails in the different sectors of the park such as Mubwindi swamp trail, ivy river trail, bamboo zone trails, and much more. Birding activities in Bwindi give you an opportunity to spot over 350 bird species that are recorded in the park as well as forest animals.
Birds you are likely to see in Bwindi gorilla park include cattle egret, black kite, southern pochard, African black duck, purple heron, little grebe, hottentot teal, woolly necked stork, shikra, little sparrow hawk, pink backed pelican, palm nut vulture, brown snake eagle, bat hawk, African hawk-eagle, eurasin hobby, augur buzzard, shikra, crested guinea fowl, olive pigeon, blue-spotted wood dove, scaly francolin, and African jacana among others.
Batwa community tour
Batwa community tour is another activity that can be done by travelers that get to Bwindi by road transport. The Batwa community tours are done around the park boundaries where the Batwa decided to settle when they were evicted out of the jungle. A visit to the Batwa is led by the local guides who take you around the forest first and later to the communities. Going through the forest will give you a chance to know how these people survived in the jungle, get to know how they used the plants as medicine, killed small animals using arrows and views, collected honey, and gathered fruits. Visiting their homes will give you an opportunity to be part of their day to activities, taste their local foods, visit traditional healers, gift shops, and get entertained by the traditional dancers.
Travelers who visit Bwindi gorilla park by road can be part of the exciting nature walks that help travelers explore the park on foot. The nature walk activities are done in all the sectors of Bwindi gorilla park and are led by armed ranger guides. Nature walk activities enable travelers to spot different park animals like buffaloes, mountain gorillas, elephants, duikers, giant forest hogs, bush pigs, monkeys, birds, and different plant species.
When to visit Bwindi by road transport?
Travelers can visit Bwindi at any time of the year for the park is always open but there are months that are better than the rest. The dry months are the best to visit Bwindi gorilla park because they are characterized by little or no rainfall which keeps the roads connecting to the park dry and passable. The trekking trails in the park are dry and not slippery which doesn’t affect the speed of trekkers, and the vegetation inside the park is short and thin giving good views of the mountain gorillas and others apes.
Travelers especially budget travelers can visit Bwindi gorilla park in the rainy season to enjoy the huge discounts on accommodation facilities and other services. The prices are lowered to attract the few tourists that are always in the park during that time. The rainy season is however characterized by little or no rainfall that makes the trekking trails muddy and slippery, the vegetation is tall giving unclear views of the park animals, and the roads leading to the park are in bad conditions.